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Ending Interpretations
July 23, 2008
8:01 am
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Mekana
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I think its a brillaint ending and I completly agree with Mr. Furious' interpretation. Its interesting as well if you look at the second to last song, and significant lyrics in that:

No one condemning you,/ Lined up like lemmings/ You're led to the water

Why can't they hear the lies?

Maybe the fees to pricey for them to realize/Your disguise is slipping

I still have to wonder can you really hear me?

I bring you pain the kind you can't suffer quietly

Everything's slipping…away

Go ahead, run away, say it was horrible

You people all have to learn/ This world is going to burn

There's no time for mercy/Here goes no mercy

This song is about Hammer and sung to his admirers but in some way I think part of it is Dr. Horrible singing to Billy. Billy made his choice to come and do away with Hammer, he wasn't forced to do it. But did he realize the cost? Horrible brought him pain and he does suffer, and not quietly either because he loses everything and how does that leave him? His entire world, everything Billy really cared about “burned” - he lost it all. So much for mercy right? Horrible can't give him mercy because Billy already made the choice. Even as Billy (I think its him singing here) hesitates to kill Hammer, there really is no mercy anymore because \"Billy\" as a person is slipping away. Horrible is in charge now and has to rule the world and fix the status quo and in doing so, has to get rid of Billy because he's part of the problem.  In a typical Joss twist, Billy got everything he ever wanted and it killed him in the end.  As Mal would have said it, Billy killed himself, Horrible just carried the bullet awhile.

July 23, 2008
12:37 pm
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OpDDay2001
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I thought it was an excellent ending. It was moving and touching. It was one of the few (read as only) movies that was able to illicit sadness near to the point of tears, and I knew the ending before watching it (blame Wikipedia and my Info-Hound tendancies). It was also one of the few movies/shows to actually give me an ending that's normally against my expectations.

Honestly, the last act is probably the strongest act. It is comedic, dramatic, and tragic. I'll start with the Final song.

The final song starts out with Billy realizing that he has truly lost everything he's ever wanted.

\"Here lies everything/ The world I wanted, at my feet\"

The second line of the song is song hollowly as the chorus echoes \"Everything you ever..\" in an airy tone. The way the it's left open and the soft airy tone signifies that he's lost what he wanted most.

\"My Victory's complete / So hail to the King.\"

The last phrase of the first part of the song starts out by being sung by Billy but shifts to Dr. Horrible. Billy is talking to the dead Penny, he's in remorse for what he was responsible for. The last line is Dr. Horrible talking to both Billy and Penny. His world, the world of the dark, corrupt and socially bankrupt, has consumed Penny, Captain Hammer, and himself. And he, as Dr. Horrible is completely fine with it. This is illustrated by the scene of Captain Hammer talking to the shrink and saying something like, \"I didn't mean to take her life, and it hurts inside\" or something to that effect. Perhaps signaling the start of a reformed Captain Hammer.

\"Arise and see / So your world's benign?
So you think justice has a voice? / So you think justice has a voice?
And we all have a choice? / Well, now your world is mine.
And I am fine.\"

Next, I think the change in the style of the music signifies the shift to the cold, heartless Dr. Horrible. It's mechanic, dark, and is the recurring theme throughout the movie. It's basically Dr. Horrible's theme music. If anyone is familiar with the TV show Heroes, than think of the Sylar's clockwork theme. It plays when the character is being particularly evil and/or cunning. This is further illustrated by the next lines we here. Dr. Horrible is saying that now the nightmare is starting. Now he's in control. Up until til he starts talking about what he feels this is still the Dr. Horrible persona. The change in the custome, the lowering of the goggles. It signifies the shift inside. In a weird way, the custome design reflects more about his true feelings or at least I think so. The Red because he is blood-stained. The lowering of his goggles to hide himself from the truth and to blind himself of others. The airy chorus returns through this part of the song, to remind Dr. Horrible of what Billy's lost. Billy lost everything he ever wanted in order for Dr. Horrible to get what he wanted. Also, it's interesting to note that during Captain Hammer's scene, the music is different. It sounds heroic. A lot of snare drum. Rattatatat tatatat rattatatat tatatat. However it's faint. This further indicates that perhaps Captain Hammer is finally going to take responsability for his action.

\"Now the nightmare's real / Now Dr. Horrible is here
To make you quake with fear / To make the whole world kneel!
And I won't feel\"

The last line of the act is delivered by Billy, and I believe it is interupted. We enter mid-sentance as he's blogging his true feeling and being honest. I think he's saying \"I don't feel a thing.\" Their is a subtle different in meaning. I won't feel a thing implies no regret or remore, no emotion at all. I don't feel a thing actually signifies a deep sadness, a void. Feeling nothing and not feeling are different in this respect. Just as Billy (as Dr Horrible) used blogging throughout Acts I and II to discuss his plans and motivations, Dr. Horrible (as Billy) uses blogging to express his emotions and emptiness to the world.
 The last line is delivered with a sense of emptiness, and sadness. It is there, like the white trimmings on the new costume, to give us hope that there is still some of the old Billy left in there somewhere. That he's not all bad. That's pretty much the theme of this movie, I believe. Hope.

Billy is a person without hope. He sees the world as twisted and wrong, and is twisted by it himself. This is best illustrated by the song \"On The Rise\", when he talks about pouring poison into the Water Main, and is refernenced further in the song by his stating that he's losing himself to the darkness. However, Dr. Horrible never took full control up until the point that Penny died. Billy still had a choice, a way to redemption (as it were). He was still fighting with himself. Most of the previous songs were about this conflict. Brand New Day is a song about convincing himself that he has to kill Captain Hammer in order to realize his goals. He is pushed to this by Captain Hammer himself. The song, \"Slipping\", is a battle between Billy and Dr. Horrible. The song is about the slipping of control from Billy to Dr. Horrible. I think that the middle part of the song is actually a conversation between the two sides of of himself.

Dr. Horrible: \"Then I get everything I ever...\"
Billy [interupting; questioning tone]: \"All the cash, all the fame?\"
Dr. Horrible: \"AND social change.\"
Billy: \"Anarachy?\"
Dr. Horrible: \"That I run.\"

Then Dr. Horrible is control up until he is about to shoot Captain Hammer. This is where Billy makes his last stand. He's still trying to convince himself to go through with it

Penny's death scene is perhaps the most interesting. Penny already knew Dr. Horrible was Billy. She saw him from behind the chair and then again when she stood up. In fact when you see her stand up you see her mouth \"Billy?\". The fact that at the very end of her life chooses to see Dr. Horrible as Billy, and that she chooses to trust in Captain Hammer. It says a lot about her. She is representative of hope. An aspect that Billy longs for and that Dr. Horrible is completely devoid of. She hopes for a better world, for better people. She trusts them, against her better instincts. She trusts in Billy, she trusts in Captain Hammer. It's naive, but that's the point. She's had a tough life, and a deep history (according to the song she sings about herself). Yet, through it all she has hope right until the end. She is Billy's hope as well. When she dies though, that's when Billy loses all hope for the world and is plunged into the darkness completely.

The whole story, to me, seems rooted in hope. Billy lacks it, but wants it. Penny has it to the point of naivete. Captain Hammer is to self absorbed to realize any of this, doesn't even realize what he's got (presumably, until he lost it). The inactions of Billy. The actions of Captain Hammer. The fulcrum between them is Penny. The actions of Captain Hammer causes Dr. Horrible to rise to the top, while causing him to sink to the bottom. Billy's inaction lets this all happen. Penny is the common point between the two, and gets destroyed inthe process. Think of a seesaw. Billy is at the bottom. Captain Hammer at the top on the opposite side. In the middle is Penny. Captain Hammer's side pushes down onto Penny's fulcrum causing the Billy's side to raise up. It's not a perfect analogy, but it works.

July 23, 2008
3:27 pm
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JayJayZee said:

Twi said:

Annon said:

Also remember that Dr. Horrible didn't actually kill anyone.  It was an accident.  An accident he was responsible for, but still, he didn't ever pull the trigger on his “death-trap” ray while pointing at a person.  So Horrible is kind of in a moral gray area…   


Actually, the ray malfunctioned because Hammer hit him. There's a conspicuously long shot of the ray on the floor where you can see it sparking; it wasn't doing this before. So really, Hammer is the one responsible for it, especially since Horrible saw that the ray was malfunctioning and tried to warn him not to fire it. ([Horrible looks at the ray when Hammer points it at him, and his eyes widen] “Don't!” Hammer: “I don't have time for your words!”) So- really, if anything, it isn't his fault, it's Captain Hammer's.


Yes, I thought it was clear that Capt Hammer broke the Death Ray and then he says to Dr Horrible “I don't have time for your Warnings”. So he is really partly responsible for Penny's death (Dr Horrible did bring the Death Ray there, so he's partly responsible too). It's very poignant that Penny died thinking her killer would save her. 


As much as I hate quote pyramids...

Here's the thing though...

She didn't die thinking Captain Hammer would save 'HER'.

She died telling Billy Buddy that 'Captain Hammer will save us'.

The 'us' in that changes the meaning entirely, I think, because she knew that Billy Buddy was Dr. Horrible-- you can see her mouth the words 'Billy Buddy?' after he says his name in 'Slipping'. Perhaps this was her last hope that, somewhere down the line, Captain Hammer might be able to snap Billy Buddy out of his downward spiral that is Dr. Horrible?

July 23, 2008
5:35 pm
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BEWARE, WALL OF TEXT AHEAD!!!

I see so many people saying that Billy is actually two personalities, Billy and Dr. Horrible, like Jekyll and Hyde. I simply cannot agree. It is a good comparison to the two different paths that Dr. Horrible has to choose from, but you cannot have the comparison stand up much more than that. Billy and Dr. Horrible are one and the same for a very simply reason: no matter the circumstances, each part of his personality is involved almost the same amount.

Let's start with the obvious. I'll leave out the ending, which is where people often say that Dr. Horrible has completely taken over, because I have my own take on that ending. During Billy's conversation with Penny, he expresses to her that he *really* wants this job (with the Evil League of Evil), and he wishes he was like Bad Horse. Billy wants Penny, Dr. Horrible seeks power and fame and glory. So why would, during an innocent conversation with Penny, he thinks so much like Dr. Horrible, yet acts so much like Billy? And this was before Dr. Horrible started to “take over”. This is in addition to in the first Act where he was pissed off that Captain Hammer was getting the girl of his dreams (Billy), yet chose to grab the Wonderflonium (Dr. Horrible).

Now for some more examples. In the middle of the song “Brand New Day”, which is absolutely evil Dr. Horrible mentality, he devotes an entire stanza to wooing Penny, in addition to mentioning his moral delima that was very real on his mind, and even mentioned his pledge (to destroy the plague that devoured humanity; a very good-willed action that you can attribute to the “Billy” persona). Dr. Horrible wouldn't have a moral delima about it, at least how people are passing it off. And finally a very simply one: during the height of “Slipping”, which is Dr. Horrible's trademark tune and delightfully villainous song and after Dr. Horrible has basically 'taken over', where he is saying the world will burn, he immediately snaps out of it to inform people how to spell his name, then snaps back. In addition, Dr. Horrible has a look of *absolute* despair when he is trying to force himself to pull the trigger on the Death Ray in front of Captain Hammer. After Dr. Horrible's rant, I think he would have enough momentum to do whatever he wanted, but since Dr. Horrible and Billy are personas, Billy/Dr. Horrible the person didn't *want* to kill Captain Hammer. Plus, if he is truly a genius who can make such brilliant mechanical devices, and he is an evil character, wouldn't he just fire the Death Ray at the very beginning, not the Freeze Ray? (The evil laugh at the beginning would have those who think Dr. Horrible is a split personality that Dr. Horrible is in control for now)

There's my counter-examples and why I can't believe that Dr. Horrible and Billy are Hyde and Jekyll. This are the most obvious examples I can think of: I'm an intuitive thinker, so another large chunk of why I think this is very difficult to pin down (but no less convincing).

So what do I think of the whole thing? I think Dr. Horrible is a character who finds something valuble, runs into problems, gets pressured in by expectations of those he wishes to please, and makes a dark choice. He is all parts of his personality all the time.

Now my personal take on the ending song: I thought each verse was intended differently. The “So you're world's benign”…etc. stanza was speaking directly to Penny. Because of her last line “Captain Hammer will save us”, it was very easy for him to immediately pull away and detach himself from Penny, because she still believed in Captain Hammer (just look at his face; he doesn't react, he just…stares with a fairly blank stare). He lashes back at her with this stanza: “So you think ____…Well now your whole world's mine.” It's like a “I get the last say! I get the last laugh! So there!” Billy is still there, and he isn't hidden away at the edges. He's in control, but he's the one who made the choices that lead to this. He's hurt, but he knows well what his choices has lead him to.

The second stanza seems almost…sarcastic. Maybe that doesn't describe it perfectly, but I think there is a wealth of things that are being communicated in this last stanza. Listen back to it and hear the way he says it, especially “Dr. HorriBOL“. It is self-loathing. For the first time in any of the acts, the press plays a major role, especially the cameras flashing as he stands above his kill. The press doesn't communicate multi-dimentional characters. They don't present people with a mix of desires. They present flat, arbitrary caricatures (just look at the political cartoons of any president, who we probably know the most about out of all the people in the news). Dr. Horrible is his persona, it is what the press sees, it is what people see when they see him, and it is also, most importantly, what the Evil League of Evil sees when they see him (the purpose of the board room & party scene). It seems almost sarcastic, because he has never before described himself with such power (which seems almost hyperbolic), like making the world kneel, and the airy voices saying that this is everything he ever wanted, when we all know that he wanted Penny (maybe not more than his villainous desires, but still he wanted to be with her quite badly). We start to believe it when we watch the final scenes, we think that he truly has become a detestable evil villain, until at the very end, we're thrown a curve ball. Dr. Horrible, sitting at his computer in normal clothes with a look of utter devastation, sadness, or just simply conflicting emotions inside of him; this reminds us that he is still the Billy we know and understand, yet he has chosen to become the big-time evil villain at the cost of one very close to him.

Billy is in control of it all. He chose to become what he did; it wasn't Dr. Horrible.

The ending actually was perfect in that it lead to the point where he could be redeemed, or that he could be beyond redemption, where he could still be a complex character or a one-dimentional villain. That's perfect if you might try to have a sequel but you don't know what the plotline of it could be.

July 28, 2008
8:03 pm
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Everything you ever
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Grandauron said:

BEWARE, WALL OF TEXT AHEAD!!!


I see so many people saying that Billy is actually two personalities, Billy and Dr. Horrible, like Jekyll and Hyde. I simply cannot agree. It is a good comparison to the two different paths that Dr. Horrible has to choose from, but you cannot have the comparison stand up much more than that. Billy and Dr. Horrible are one and the same for a very simply reason: no matter the circumstances, each part of his personality is involved almost the same amount.


Let\'s start with the obvious. I\'ll leave out the ending, which is where people often say that Dr. Horrible has completely taken over, because I have my own take on that ending. During Billy\'s conversation with Penny, he expresses to her that he *really* wants this job (with the Evil League of Evil), and he wishes he was like Bad Horse. Billy wants Penny, Dr. Horrible seeks power and fame and glory. So why would, during an innocent conversation with Penny, he thinks so much like Dr. Horrible, yet acts so much like Billy? And this was before Dr. Horrible started to “take over”. This is in addition to in the first Act where he was pissed off that Captain Hammer was getting the girl of his dreams (Billy), yet chose to grab the Wonderflonium (Dr. Horrible).


Now for some more examples. In the middle of the song “Brand New Day”, which is absolutely evil Dr. Horrible mentality, he devotes an entire stanza to wooing Penny, in addition to mentioning his moral delima that was very real on his mind, and even mentioned his pledge (to destroy the plague that devoured humanity; a very good-willed action that you can attribute to the “Billy” persona). Dr. Horrible wouldn\'t have a moral delima about it, at least how people are passing it off. And finally a very simply one: during the height of “Slipping”, which is Dr. Horrible\'s trademark tune and delightfully villainous song and after Dr. Horrible has basically \'taken over\', where he is saying the world will burn, he immediately snaps out of it to inform people how to spell his name, then snaps back. In addition, Dr. Horrible has a look of *absolute* despair when he is trying to force himself to pull the trigger on the Death Ray in front of Captain Hammer. After Dr. Horrible\'s rant, I think he would have enough momentum to do whatever he wanted, but since Dr. Horrible and Billy are personas, Billy/Dr. Horrible the person didn\'t *want* to kill Captain Hammer. Plus, if he is truly a genius who can make such brilliant mechanical devices, and he is an evil character, wouldn\'t he just fire the Death Ray at the very beginning, not the Freeze Ray? (The evil laugh at the beginning would have those who think Dr. Horrible is a split personality that Dr. Horrible is in control for now)


There\'s my counter-examples and why I can\'t believe that Dr. Horrible and Billy are Hyde and Jekyll. This are the most obvious examples I can think of: I\'m an intuitive thinker, so another large chunk of why I think this is very difficult to pin down (but no less convincing).



So what do I think of the whole thing? I think Dr. Horrible is a character who finds something valuble, runs into problems, gets pressured in by expectations of those he wishes to please, and makes a dark choice. He is all parts of his personality all the time.


Now my personal take on the ending song: I thought each verse was intended differently. The “So you\'re world\'s benign”…etc. stanza was speaking directly to Penny. Because of her last line “Captain Hammer will save us”, it was very easy for him to immediately pull away and detach himself from Penny, because she still believed in Captain Hammer (just look at his face; he doesn\'t react, he just…stares with a fairly blank stare). He lashes back at her with this stanza: “So you think ____…Well now your whole world\'s mine.” It\'s like a “I get the last say! I get the last laugh! So there!” Billy is still there, and he isn\'t hidden away at the edges. He\'s in control, but he\'s the one who made the choices that lead to this. He\'s hurt, but he knows well what his choices has lead him to.


The second stanza seems almost…sarcastic. Maybe that doesn\'t describe it perfectly, but I think there is a wealth of things that are being communicated in this last stanza. Listen back to it and hear the way he says it, especially “Dr. HorriBOL“. It is self-loathing. For the first time in any of the acts, the press plays a major role, especially the cameras flashing as he stands above his kill. The press doesn\'t communicate multi-dimentional characters. They don\'t present people with a mix of desires. They present flat, arbitrary caricatures (just look at the political cartoons of any president, who we probably know the most about out of all the people in the news). Dr. Horrible is his persona, it is what the press sees, it is what people see when they see him, and it is also, most importantly, what the Evil League of Evil sees when they see him (the purpose of the board room & party scene). It seems almost sarcastic, because he has never before described himself with such power (which seems almost hyperbolic), like making the world kneel, and the airy voices saying that this is everything he ever wanted, when we all know that he wanted Penny (maybe not more than his villainous desires, but still he wanted to be with her quite badly). We start to believe it when we watch the final scenes, we think that he truly has become a detestable evil villain, until at the very end, we\'re thrown a curve ball. Dr. Horrible, sitting at his computer in normal clothes with a look of utter devastation, sadness, or just simply conflicting emotions inside of him; this reminds us that he is still the Billy we know and understand, yet he has chosen to become the big-time evil villain at the cost of one very close to him.


Billy is in control of it all. He chose to become what he did; it wasn\'t Dr. Horrible.


The ending actually was perfect in that it lead to the point where he could be redeemed, or that he could be beyond redemption, where he could still be a complex character or a one-dimentional villain. That\'s perfect if you might try to have a sequel but you don\'t know what the plotline of it could be.


Definitely agree.

I must emphasize that when Penny mumbled \"Captain Hammer will save us...\" just before she died, she said the single most devastating line that Dr. Horrible will ever hear.

Here she is, fully aware of Captain Hammer\'s evil designs on her, and actually dying because of his lack of mercy - but yet she still hopes against all odds that Captain Hammer will prevail?!??

This is not merely a statement of naivete; to Dr. Horrible\'s ears (and I daresay any male psyche) this is the line that jolts him into the realizing the utter futility of his efforts to win over Penny\'s heart.

To Dr. Horrible, Penny was everything.

But to Penny, Dr. Horrible is just Billy, an acquaintance at the laundromat, just another regular joe nobody background character for Captain Hammer \"to save\".

With one swift stroke, Penny snuffs out Dr. Horrible\'s last glimmer of hope and emasculates his ego, severing the last tenuous thread linking him to humanity.

Dr. Horrible now realizes that Penny is merely another member of the \"sheeple\" - her worldview inextricably entangled with Captain Hammer\'s old world order.

Dr. Horrible awakes to the fact that Penny was really the embodiment of what he ought to destroy (though the dirty job was done by Captain Hammer) in order to achieve the new world order that he so desires.

Penny could never be part of his world. So when he sings:

\"Here lies everything
The world I wanted at my feet
My victory’s complete
So hail to the king\"

As another poster has commented, the dual-meaning of the word \"everything\" is clear - it refers both to society and Penny.

But I should draw your attention to the phrase \"My victory\'s complete\", which Dr. Horrible realizes was the tragic truth: Penny - his greatest love, was ironically also his biggest obstacle to achieving greatness.

\"Arise and see
So your world’s benign
So you think justice has a voice and we all have a choice
Well now your world is mine\"

With Penny gone, nothing can hold back Dr. Horrible from his destiny. He is now free to create a new world order without having second thoughts about \"inelegant\" activities like breaking the law, hurting or killing people.

No longer human, he emerges as a supervillain, a monster.

\"Everything you ever...\"

I should point out that this is sung in Penny\'s voice.

Deep inside, some part of Dr. Horrible has died together with Penny. Her \"ghost\" will forever haunt his consciousness and render his victory bland and meaningless.

Dr. Horrible has achieved the unhappy ending that he had once forseen.

August 7, 2008
2:12 am
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unforgiven91 said:

I, and my younger sister were both saddened by the ending, and I think Dr. Horrible Didnt get what he wanted, if you listen you can hear the airy sound of “Everything you ever wanted” sung in the background as if it is just a dream like state. I think that he was just reflecting on what could have been if he had not failed, as in he didnt kill Captain Hammer.

I love how there are tons of interpretation


After reading that post and watching that part, it kind of makes sense. maybe the ELE noticed that horrilbe never killed someone. Hammer did. So maybe he was rejected from the ELE. And the sequence following penny death is all that could have happened had he killed Hammer. And that last two seconds is the aftermath and Billy rejecting Horrible for good. We shall see.

August 7, 2008
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The way I see it, it was all real.  All too real.  None of it was imagined, dreamed up or fantasized by Dr. Horrible, except that bit where he was a giant.

The very first thing we see in this story is Dr. Horrible practicing his evil laugh, which sounds, well, laughable.  And when he hits Captain Hammer with his freeze ray, his evil laugh sounds absolutely perfect.

Evil is abstract and is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  In a comment for a recent article I read about the upcoming presidential election, some religious zealot was referring to “devilcrats”.  What one views as evil, one views as sane.  While this is a strange and silly world, what they represent to the normals, evil, is merely a threat to drastically change life as they know it.  High school, college, taxes, marriage, kids, divorce, viagra, everything that we know, failing as it is, must be destroyed and replaced with something completely different and unknown.  Some might draw parallels to extremists like Al-Qaeda, but I won't go that far.

In a traditional sense, Dr. Horrible isn't a truly evil person.  He merely wants to change the world so that it functions the way it should.  And he realizes that the only way to do this is by overthrowing those in power.

In the song I Cannot Believe My Eyes AKA On The Rise, we see how completely different Billy and Penny's views are.  They completely contrast each other.  Billy has no hope for the world and needs to change it.  Penny has so much hope for the world and thinks it can be saved.

I don't know if anyone else here has loved someone completely wrong for them, but this is that.  Penny could do better than Captain Hammer, but Billy didn't deserve her either.  Captain Hammer is more obviously pompous and megalomaniacal, but with Billy, it's a lot more subtle.  In Penny's presence, he's such a fake, pretending to enjoy laundry or scoffing at Penny's petition.

So, why does Billy want to be with someone who's so different from him?  Well, anyone who's been in this situation knows that it's pretty simple.  She's not only pretty, but warm and kind.  All it takes is a little bit of kindness to melt the coldest of hearts.  Each of them represents a valid argument and a potential threat for one to change the other.  They both failed to change each other.  Thanks to Captain Hammer, they didn't have a chance to.

Billy also wanted to hope for the world that Penny hopes for.  Penny was starting to believe in her own fantasy, but then began to doubt it when she became a trophy of Captain Hammer's.  On laundry day, Penny was eating one of two frozen yogurts by herself and looking to the door with disappointment when it wasn't Billy walking in.  In need of her friend, or sensing what he felt?

Dr. Horrible might have hesitated blowing away Captain Hammer, as he's never killed and doesn't wish to be known as a murderer, but, with Penny's death, his hope, innocence and mercy died with her.  Should he ever have an opportunity to kill Captain Hammer again, he will not again hesitate to kill the man who has ruined everything for him.

About the last few seconds: I never really put a lot of thought into him being out of costume for his blog before.  As for the song, I don't think that the last line is the cut off end of a different sentence.  Most of the songs were cut together from several different scenes and it was done in that fashion to contrast Dr. Horrible's rise with the reality of him really truly not feeling a thing.  With the loss of his soul, he is numb and unhappy.  Perhaps he is out of costume because it's tragically laundry day once more and he has no reason to visit the laundromat again without being able to see Penny there (and he can afford his own washer and dryer now).

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, what is Pink Pummeler's motivation?

August 8, 2008
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I'm of the mindset that Billy and Horrible were at opposite ends of [to use a tvtropes.com phrase] the sliding scale of idealism vs. cynicism.

Billy wants to save/rule the world to save it. He's a pacifist. He doesn't want to hurt or kill anybody.  His weapons were all freeze ray (stops time),  muscle weakener ray (see the comic) and stun ray (converted to death ray after he was pushed too far).  He didn't want to fight Johnny Snow in the park because “there are kids in that park.” His expression was disdainful.

I agree that Slipping/Horrible's Theme was a battle between the two sides of Billy's psyche. Not so much a Jekyll/Hyde thing but a fictitious creation of Billy's imagination that took on a life of its own and then took over.

Maybe the fee's too pricey for them to realize

Your disguise is slipping / I think you're slipping

–beautiful irony there. Horrible is speaking to Hammer, but also saying the same thing to the Billy part of himself: “You're really me, Horrible,  deep down inside.” 

But then he lauches into the showstopper. There is a eason it is in the style of a waltz. Billy and Horrible are dancing as they tug-of-war over who gets control in the end:

Go ahead, run away, Say it was Horrible!

Spread the word, tell a friend!

Tell them the tale!

Get a pic! Do a blog!

Heroes are over with

Look at him, not a word!

Hammer meet nail!

Billy is still in there.  The first line, “Go ahead, run away, say it was horrible” is clearing the room of all innocent bystanders so nobody gets hurt Billy wasn't gunning for.  But it's also Horrible.  “say it was Horrible,” who goes on to tell the viewers who is behind this so he gets his fame and glory.  Up until the gloat, then it splits again.  “Hammer meet nail” sounds on the surface like Horrible is gloating Hammer has met his match,  but the job of a hammer is to pound the nail into line so what is built does not fall apart. 

Then I win / then I get / everything I ever

All the cash / all the fame /and social change

Anarchy that I run 

Horrible tries to snatch back the reins, but the fact that that line goes unfinished is Billy acknowledging that it's not really everything he ever wanted because there is no Penny in this equation.  Plus, the look on his face when he sings the part about social change is Billy trying to remind Horrible the reason he started doing the mad scientist bit in the first place.  Not to mention that if it's truly anarchy -- nobody runs it.

No sign of Penny / good I would give any / thing not to have her see

It's gonna be bloody  / head up Billy buddy / there's no time for mercy

So here goes no mercy [note held]

Billy is trying desperately to stop himself here, because he has realized if he's to have any shot at all with Penny he can't go down this path. But if the world is to do better, their so-called hero needs to go down, and that he can't reconcile with. But at heart, he is still no killer.

The same “Everything you ever” echoes through the triumph dirge after Penny's death.  Billy has died symbolically with Penny, but what's left is a broken hearted shell of a man who has nothing left but Dr. Horrible.  And the bitter Dr. Horrible doesn't care about saving the world anymore because what kind of a world worships a hero who doesn't care about really saving people? If Hammer had listened to Billy's warning, Penny might have lived. As far as he's concerned, the world isn't worth saving — just burning.

August 8, 2008
5:12 am
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Guest0872008
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Twi said:

JayJayZee said:

Twi said:

Annon said:

Also remember that Dr. Horrible didn't actually kill anyone.  It was an accident.  An accident he was responsible for, but still, he didn't ever pull the trigger on his “death-trap” ray while pointing at a person.  So Horrible is kind of in a moral gray area…   


Actually, the ray malfunctioned because Hammer hit him. There's a conspicuously long shot of the ray on the floor where you can see it sparking; it wasn't doing this before. So really, Hammer is the one responsible for it, especially since Horrible saw that the ray was malfunctioning and tried to warn him not to fire it. ([Horrible looks at the ray when Hammer points it at him, and his eyes widen] “Don't!” Hammer: “I don't have time for your words!”) So- really, if anything, it isn't his fault, it's Captain Hammer's.


Yes, I thought it was clear that Capt Hammer broke the Death Ray and then he says to Dr Horrible “I don't have time for your Warnings”. So he is really partly responsible for Penny's death (Dr Horrible did bring the Death Ray there, so he's partly responsible too). It's very poignant that Penny died thinking her killer would save her. 


As much as I hate quote pyramids…

Here's the thing though…

She didn't die thinking Captain Hammer would save 'HER'.

She died telling Billy Buddy that 'Captain Hammer will save us'.

The 'us' in that changes the meaning entirely, I think, because she knew that Billy Buddy was Dr. Horrible– you can see her mouth the words 'Billy Buddy?' after he says his name in 'Slipping'. Perhaps this was her last hope that, somewhere down the line, Captain Hammer might be able to snap Billy Buddy out of his downward spiral that is Dr. Horrible?


I hate quote pyramids also. But I was going to post something extremely similiar to what you said. I'm almost positive that when Penny said, \"Dr. Horrible will save us\" she did NOT mean it in the literal sense. That one line stuck out to me so much, because I can feel the meaning in my head, but I just can't fully make the connection yet (if that makes any sense). She knows Dr. H is Billy, she knows he's evil, but yet, she still holds out some hope that Cpt. Hammer can save them. I can agree that she's hoping that Hammer can stop Billy from fully becoming Dr. Horrible, from being enveloped by the darkness... but she says \"us\". Does that imply that maybe Penny was fighting some demons of her own, that she was hoping Captain Hammer could save her from? I think so.

August 8, 2008
6:28 am
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Preston
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Hi

my questions not really about the ending but the inner conflict. Is it me oder could the twinking of

Dr. H/Billy be a sign of inner conflict? For example right before \"a man's gotta do\". Billy wants to follow Penny, twinking, Dr. H. takes over and continues the plan.

(Sorry for the Off-Topic-Thing)

August 8, 2008
9:31 am
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Hannah
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What I have to say is probably just going to sound like a rehash of much of what's already been said, but I'll say it anyway for the sake of sorting out my reflections on paper.

Firstly, I disagree with those who emphasize Dr. Horrible's dual identity.  Billy and Dr. Horrible are one and the same person throughout the story.  Both see society as helplessly corrupt and in need of a complete overhaul (”The world is a mess and I just need to rule it”).  Billy/Dr. H doesn't take much interest in Penny's homeless shelter because he sees homelessness as a mere “symptom” of a larger problem.  It doesn't seem to matter which costume Dr. H is wearing; he is equally awkward, sincere, and helplessly smitten in both identities.  Both Billy and Dr. H are characterized by an ominous-yet-poignant blend of bitter cynicism and ideal-driven ambition.

When Penny finally meets Billy/Dr. H in Act I, it is clear that she doesn't really understand his point of view.  Her reaction to his impassioned (if somewhat involved) speech on the rotten state of society is the reminder, “this is about the homeless shelter.”  In fact, the two characters talk past each other throughout the musical.  This inevitably leaves the audience with the feeling that, in spite of their mutual attraction (suggested on Penny's part when we see her waiting for Billy in the laundromat with frozen yogurt in Act III), Billy/Dr. H and Penny could never end up together.  To be with Penny, Dr. Horrible would have to (figuratively) die, giving up his “evil” goals and settling down to a hum-drum civilian existance.  We couldn't possibly expect this of him, because we know that Billy/Dr. H will never be content until he has left his mark on a world “full of filth and lies.”

The musical concludes, not with the figurative death of Dr. Horrible,  but with the actual death of Penny, the only truely innocent and “good” character in the story.  We come to realize early on that, although she is warm-hearted and selfless, Penny is not the best judge of human character.  First she falls for Captain Hammer, unable to percieve his shallowness and narcissism until near the very end of the story.  Then she seems to be developing feelings for Billy, who we know to be a bitter and somewhat unbalanced would-be supervillain, for all his bumbling charm.  Her lasts words are a prime example of her tendency to see people and events as she thinks they ought to be rather than as they truely are.  When Dr. H approaches her, she sees not a self-proclaimed villain, but a friend from the laundromat.  She urges him not to worry, for “Captain Hammer will save us.”

Dr. H realizes within mere moments of Penny's death that his goals are now within reach.  A ghostly voice - Penny's - emphasizes the irony of this moment.  But in spite of losing his “dream girl,” Dr. Horrible moves on with his evil schemes.  He has not suddenly become evil as a result of Penny's death; these are ambitions he has always cherished.  Nor do I think he considers these things he's always wanted - the fame, the money, the ability to inspire fear - as worthless now that Penny is gone.  With a chilling tone of rellish he announces, “Now the nightmare's real/ now Dr. Horrible is here/ to make you quake with fear/ to make the whole world kneel.” Perhaps he didn't previously realize the cost of evil, but he realizes it now and, and yet he hasn't changed his plans.  The loss of Penny is tragic, and we know that in spite of his protestations, he feels it deeply.  But Penny's parting gift to him was victory, and he's making the most of it.

I like the question of “who is the real villain” which some posters have raised.  I think the point of the musical is that there are no easy answers to that question.  Penny is the only character written without shades of gray, and thus in some strange way it is appropriate that she's the one who dies in the end.  She's too good to be real; the world can't hold her.  Everyone else is a mixture of the villainous and the heroic.

August 10, 2008
12:38 pm
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Dundee
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Hannah, very good, eloquent points. What about the significance of the final shot though? It suggests that something of Billy still remains & the inversion of that scene, that it is Billy at the computer, not Dr. Horrible, is certainly marked. I understand you reject the notion of two distinct identities & you make your point well, however anyone who has a secret identity (although his disguise is not exactly foolproof) contains some degree of duality. I think that the story is about the birth of a truly evil super-villain but the last shot remains as a magnificantly conceived \"curve ball\' if you will. Thoughts?

August 10, 2008
2:40 pm
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Doc1966
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Not much to add other than that something from another big buzz project, Watchmen, struck me as relevant to this discussion. The part I'm thinking of is where Rorschach, having been captured and unmasked as Walter Kovacs, is being psychoanalyzed in prison. At one point the psychologist is tracing the origin of the Rorschach persona and says  \"Making a mask for yourself, you decided to become Rorschach..\" to which Rorschach interrupts saying \"Don't be stupid. I wasn't Rorschach then. Then I was just Kovacs. Kovacs pretending to be Rorschach.\"

In Watchmen, it is the uncovering of a truly horrible and gruesome criminal act that makes Kovacs cross the line, becoming not just a solver of crimes (Kovacs pretending to be Rorschach) but meting out justice/revenge including killing criminals (the true Rorschach); \"free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.\"

Similarly, at first it is just Billy pretending to be Dr. Horrible. He doesn't know what it means to be evil - at his most bad-ass he just makes a stun ray or an ice ray that doesn't quite work. As the story progresses, he is pushed by circumstances and his humiliation at seeing Captain Hammer get the girl, to realize that to be truly evil, he must have no limits, no lines he will not cross. In causing, inadvertently, the death of Penny, Billy becomes Dr. Horrible (\"Dr. Horrible is here!\") - no longer pretending, ready to do anything he must to realize his goals.

August 11, 2008
2:47 pm
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I don't like the idea that Billy was imagining any part of the ending or that he literally has a split personality. It seems to cheapen it.

Basically, the way I see it, at the end Billy is convincing himself that this is what he wanted - getting into the Evil League of Evil, being feared as a villain. It was, after all, the goal he had set for himself when he created the Dr. Horrible persona. The line “And I won't feel a thing” is meant to mean, “Feelings will never get in my way again; I will now feel no remorse when the world kneels at my feet.” However, in that final shot, he is essentially repeating the line to himself, again trying to convince himself he really is a supervillain with no emotions, but he really isn't.

Blogging in civilian clothing? I'm not entirely sure he was blogging, actually - it could just have been a shot from the same angle, and the line strikes me as something he would just mutter to himself. But meh.

They call me moving guy, because I move the audience to tears!
August 11, 2008
5:32 pm
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Gollygoshdarnscurvy
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I think this is getting very complicated!  I think Billy is saying at the end that despite his apparent success in getting into the ELE, and getting everything he thought he wanted, without Penny it is all meaningless. 

August 12, 2008
4:33 am
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Gollygoshdarnscurvy said:

I think this is getting very complicated!  I think Billy is saying at the end that despite his apparent success in getting into the ELE, and getting everything he thought he wanted, without Penny it is all meaningless. 


Look through a simple lens to any one facet of a diamond, and you'll see all the facets recursively reflecting off of each other within that one facet, geometricly unending. It's a complex thing. You make any movement and the whole view changes. It's not unlike life.

There's no way we can cover all that we see trough this lens of Mr. Whedon (the Joss one), but we can point out what we notice.

The gamut determines the acceptible range of conditions. It's Genius' Awesome Sauce in an 8oz. glass bottle with a cork stopper.
May 30, 2010
9:51 pm
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robertson91
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Mekana said:

I think its a brillaint ending and I completly agree with Mr. Furious' interpretation. Its interesting as well if you look at the second to last song, and significant lyrics in that:

No one condemning you,/ Lined up like lemmings/ You're led to the water

Why can't they hear the lies?

Maybe the fees to pricey for them to realize/Your disguise is slipping

I still have to wonder can you really hear me?

I bring you pain the kind you can't suffer quietly

Everything's slipping…away

Go ahead, run away, say it was horrible

You people all have to learn/ This world is going to burn

There's no time for mercy/Here goes no mercy

This song is about Hammer and sung to his admirers but in some way I think part of it is Dr. Horrible singing to Billy. Billy made his choice to come and do away with Hammer, he wasn't forced to do it. But did he realize the cost? Horrible brought him pain and he does suffer, and not quietly either because he loses everything and how does that leave him? His entire world, everything Billy really cared about “burned” - he lost it all. So much for mercy right? Horrible can't give him mercy because Billy already made the choice. Even as Billy (I think its him singing here) hesitates to kill Hammer, there really is no mercy anymore because "Billy" as a person is slipping away. Horrible is in charge now and has to rule the world and fix the status quo and in doing so, has to get rid of Billy because he's part of the problem.  In a typical Joss twist, Billy got everything he ever wanted and it killed him in the end.  As Mal would have said it, Billy killed himself, Horrible just carried the bullet awhile.


I have to disagree with that one. I felt that when Dr. Horrible went to kill Capt. Hammer, despite him really hating Hammer the good Billy inside him wasn't capable. I kind of base this off of his expression as he was about to shoot Hammer. If you look at Horrible's face he has his eyes closed tight and turns his head. The real Billy wasn't a killer. Not to mention that Billy tried to warn Hammer not to fire the death-ray, he knew that something bad was going to happen. I think the loss of Penny just left Billy really jaded. As many people have said before in this topic, Penny was the only person that actually knew Billy as Billy. After her death he instictively fell into the only thing he knew aside from being himself, which was Dr. Horrible. The change of costume and him hiding his eyes to me says that he is trying to hide from the old Dr. Horrible/Billy that knew Penny, and hide how he really feels about her death which was demonstrated in the last 2 seconds of Act III when we see Billy on his blog (not in his disguise interestingly enough) looking completely shattered. 

All in all, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog was pure genious!

June 6, 2010
12:21 pm
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elle
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The way I see it is a as a story of decline. Billy was innocent as symbolised by his white coat, which changed to black and red once he lost that innocence.  I think that they are not two separate persona's but just Billy, who as he was shy and felt unimportant, created the character of Dr Horrible to feel more like a man. He blogs as him to gain some much needed attention and escape the dull reality. In the first two acts his plans were not truly evil ie stealing from a van and planning to use the freeze ray to just talk to Penny. Dr Horrible made him feel important and like he could make change, it encouraged him to be braver. However what started as just a fun character became more serious due to his tangling with the ELE.

He would never considered have taken a life if he was not a. spurred on by the ELE and b. antagonised by Captain Hammer. This antagonism caused him to snap, and the combined pressure to kill with the fact that as Dr Horrible he had the means to do it meant he went overboard and decided to make his fantasy a reality. It was the straw that broke the camels back. He was angry and naive not really thinking of the consequences but passionate when he planned to kill Cpt Hammer. 

However it is clear when he hesitates to kill Cpt. Hmmer he could never really do it. He isn't actually Horrible. When the gun explodes and he looks around he seemed happy to see that he had won and defeated Hammer without anyone getting hurt till he sees Penny. All along she was his driving motivation, from imagining using the freeze ray to talk to her to fantasing about creating a world they could rule together and of course beating Captain Hammer to win her back, none of his goals were really evil maybe he even kidded himself they were evil but they were unrealistic fantasy at best. Without her his actions lose this humantity and become shells, as does he.

The press, ELE and public see just the charcter of Dr Horrible not Billy and by this point Billy is too entwined with this character and just goes with the flow without any reason to stay as shy Billy. So he joins the ELE and decided to become his character Dr Horrible as it is easier to pretend he doesn't feel at all. But its not who he really is and so as a reseval of the escapism of Dr Horrible he blogs as plain Billy, his only escape from the unfeeling persona where he reveals his true emotions.

January 31, 2013
7:23 pm
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azgog
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Whew, I was new to all of this until I tripped over Dr H at the library a couple of days ago. I am a sucker for comedic musicals and agree this is a work of genius. At first I simply enjoyed the excellent writing, acting and songs, it wasn't until I had watched it a couple of times that some of the deeper layers and Shakespearean aspects emerged.

Thanks to those who established this site and to all the posters. I will really enjoy sharing this artistry with others who may not have encountered it yet. The fact that this was made off-Hollywood and without much of a budget only endears it more to my heart.

Also love all the amateur covers of the songs on you tube, very sweet.

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